CM . . .
. Volume IX Number 6. . . . November 15, 2002
Given all the time
a horse spends eating, it's lucky it is so well equipped for the job.
A long flexible neck helps it reach the ground while the horse is
standing. Sharp front teeth can easily slice off big mouthfuls of
grass. And thick, ridged cheek teeth stand up to the wear and tear
of chewing tough food thoroughly.
Welcome to the World of Wild Horses, by Diane Swanson, is the twenty-first book in the "Welcome to the World" series. This is an interesting subject for young readers as they perceive horses to be something tame on a farm instead of living freely off the land. Wild horses are more than this as Swanson points out at the onset of her book; the only true wild horses live in Mongolia; the rest, which we consider "wild," are actually "feral," meaning that they live wild now but were not always that way.
Young readers in late primary and early elementary grades will enjoy learning about these animals and will appreciate the author's straightforward writing style. The book is organized in a easy to follow format with each chapter clearly sticking to its topic. The initial chapter defines the subject area, followed by chapters on where the horses live, what they eat, how they communicate, their young, their development and their play. The table of contents helps the reader find the major divisions although some chapter titles might not readily identify their subject. For example, "New World" is about the horse's young, and "Changing World" is about its development. The glossary is a welcome addition to this informational book and is well done.
Throughout the book are full colour photographs of horses with captions that add to the content and the reader's understanding of the chapter topic. As well, there is an aside in each chapter that focuses the reader's attention on some interesting fact about horses. In the chapter on communication, the aside discusses the stallion's habit of adding to a pile of manure from other stallions as a way of holding on to rank rather than fighting for it. It may have be useful if a map indicating where in North America these animals are predominantly found had been included as the places mentioned (Assateague and Chincoteague Islands in Virginia and Maryland, and the Prior Mountain Wild Horse Range of Montana) are not well known to young readers.
Either forclassroom support or recreational reading, Welcome to the World of Wild Horses is a very good choice for young readers.
Gillian Martin Noonan is a teacher living in Old Perlican, Newfoundland.
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